From Japan to Spokane Washington

Ibaraki University Students Visit EWU

EWU welcomed sixteen students from Ibaraki University (Japan) on February 27th, and despite a snowstorm around the time of their arrival and the persisting cold, they have kept extremely busy everyday learning about our under-represented populations both on campus and in the community.

Eastern offers a Cultural Immersion Program were students get the opportunity to immerse themselves in university life and American culture and this quarter we welcomed students from Ibaraki University in Japan, many whom are future English teachers.

Ibaraki Students in front of the Eastern Sign

During the first days of their stay the Japanese group had a frybread cookout with Evanlene Melting Tallow and the Native American Student Association (NASA) students at the American Indian Education center. They visited the Kalispel tribal casino and learned about the history of the Kalispel people and how casinos provide health care and other basic services to the native population. They also met with LGBTQ leaders on campus and visited with students at the Multicultural Center.

Presentations given by Africana Studies faculty Okera Nsombi, Scott Finnie, and Angela Schwendiman had a great impact on the students.

Enjoying Frybread at the American Indian Education Center
Ayaka, from Ibaraki University, noted: “I learned about the education in the U.S. and Black Lives Matter. I was able to understand the differences between ‘equality’ and ‘equity’. I think that Japan should also adopt the way of thinking of American education. Also, I should think about diversity more deeply. I was glad to talk with EWU’s students. They are so kind I hope to meet them again.”

On Friday night, the students attended Twelfth Night The Musical at the EWU theatre. They had a lot of fun. Emily noted: “At the end of the day, we watched the show at the EWU’s theater. The atmosphere of the show and also the audience were totally different from [what they are in Japan], so I was glad to have this kind of experience here.”

"The atmosphere of the show and also the audience were totally different from [what they are in Japan], so I was glad to have this kind of experience here.” - Emily
“Today, we went to Spokane reservation and learn about the tribe. It was the first time for me to go to such a place. This experience made me reconsider my life. Professor Margo Hill said that helping each other is essential to survive. I want to keep this in my mind and help others as long as I can.” - Itsuki
Students got a chance to learn about blacksmithing

A special moment during their stay was probably the visit to the Spokane Indian reservation in Wellpinit. Margo Hill, JD, a prominent member of the tribe, took them into the heart of the community. The Japanese students visited Margo’s cousin’s house where a blacksmithing class was happening, stopped at the powwow grounds, and spent time at the reservation headquarters where Professor Hill told them about the history of her people and their current efforts to reclaim their culture and language, as well as the fights native communities are currently engaged in to stop discriminatory policies by the US government.

“The fry bread shows us Native American’s desire to survive. Also, I thought that true history doesn’t exist because most history is written from either side.” - Miho

This week the Ibaraki students will learn about small businesses with Douglas La Bar from the Mason Jar followed by working on their final project where they will be giving an oral report on what they learned while here at Eastern, before returning to Japan on Thursday.

We hope you enjoyed the snow and learned a lot and can’t wait to see you back on campus again one day!

Go Eags!

Ibaraki students proud of their Eagle swag